Agile vs. PMBOK® Guide – Part 6 – How Will Version 5 of PMBOK® Guide Address Agile?

6) How Will Version Five of the PMBOK® Guide Address Agile?

PMI has indicated that the first draft of version 5 of the PMBOK® Guide will be released on the pmi.org website on February 17, 2012. Project managers and PMPs will then have much of the remainder of 2012 to send PMI comments and requested changes. Version 5 of the PMBOK® Guide is to be formally released on December 31, 2012.

So, it will be very interesting to see what changes will be made in the PMBOK® Guide to address Agile methodologies. (Today, Version Four of the PMBOK® Guide does not mention Agile at all.) The initial feedback from PMI is that they will mention Agile, but will not explore these methodologies in any depth.

Based on conclusions that I have been arguing for, I would like to see more substantive changes made. As a first stab, I think the following chapters could be changed:

  • Chapter 2 – Expand on the discussion of iterative life-cycle approach to discuss Agile methodologies specifically. Also, in the discussion of key stakeholder roles on projects, include discussion of stakeholder roles defined in the Agile models.
  • Chapter 4 – Develop Project Management Plan – Do we always need the level of formality currently defined in the PMBOK® Guide? Do we always need all the subsidiary plans and supporting documents? Does the project management plan always require formal approval? Is this always a single, one-time event? Can we allow for more informal models, and “pull/JIT” models?
  • Chapter 5 – Scope Management – Should the Agile approach be included? (An approach that sticks entirely with a customer focused view for defining requirements and features?)
  • Chapter 7 – Earned Value Methodology – Should the new, alternative approaches being created for Agile methodologies be included? (e.g. – Burn Down Charts, Burn Up Charts?)
  • Chapter 9 – Human Resource Management – Again, possibly include the different stakeholder roles defined in Agile, and the different approach to team development, and managing the team members?

As a long-time PMP, and a supporter of PMI and the local Washington DC chapter, I fear that if they do not address making such changes, the PMBOK Guide will become less and less relevant and useful for project managers.


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